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Discussion Starter #1
My '87 Spider has a whirring noise coming out of the back end. It's directly related to vehicle speed, not engine revs or anything else. It becomes noticeable around 45 mph and by 65 is kinda loud. I recorded it today on the highway, but just discovered it won't upload to this forum. So imagine a high-pitched "whuh whuh whuh whuh whuh" sound that gets faster and higher in pitch and volume with speed. I'm thinking it's a rear wheel bearing but wanted to get any/all ideas before pulling the rear axle apart. Thoughts?
 

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Jack it up on axle stands and run it. Could be u-joint (s) or drive shaft center bearing. On stands you can listen at each rear wheel while its running at speed. Seldom if ever do both rear axle outer bearings fail at once, so you can determine which side. Have you changed your rear axle lube recently?
Years ago I had a noise like yours. I KNEW it was my 5th gear roller bearing so rebuilt the transmission. Noise still there. Replaced the whole drive shaft with a spare, u-joints and center bearing. Noise still there. Drained the rear axle lube and broken pinion teeth came out with the oil.
 

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Bad wheel bearings usually make more noise when you are turning. Have you verified the oil level in the differential?
 

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Do you hear it with the roof up or down? There is not much sound proofing in these cars and rear end noise does transmit. Some noise under acceleration and cruising I think is normal. Someone correct me if I am wrong.


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On my S4 I have a whine at around 40 mph which goes at at 40 mph plus then returns again at 70 mph and goes at plus 70 mph. Its only noticible with the roof down. My Alfa guys tell me its not unusual and they feel nothing major is going on. As its been like that for the last 17 years (and not got worse) I am not worried about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the input. I had it at my local Alfa mechanic a while back. He drained/refilled the axle and said the oil was clear with no shavings and no big chunks of pinion gear like Gordon's. My car's noise is much more noticeable with the top up - can't really hear it with the top down. The noise doesn't change with turning, only with speed. Good idea about putting it up on jackstands - I'll try that and see what happens.
 

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Thanks for the input. I had it at my local Alfa mechanic a while back. He drained/refilled the axle and said the oil was clear with no shavings and no big chunks of pinion gear like Gordon's. My car's noise is much more noticeable with the top up - can't really hear it with the top down. The noise doesn't change with turning, only with speed. Good idea about putting it up on jackstands - I'll try that and see what happens.


Mine does the same, noise only heard with the top up and under power. The noise goes away when coasting. With the top down, it is not heard at all. I really think the noise from the geometry of the driveline under power is normal. I only have 18k miles on mine. I consider it normal.


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